Kim Binsted wins Fulbright Award

ICS faculty member Kim Binsted has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Award to conduct space exploration research at the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems (IMBP).

“Analog studies” are simulated space exploration missions, conducted in order to better understand and ameliorate the risks related to health and performance associated with long-duration space exploration. These studies include the Mars-520 mission led by IMBP in Moscow and the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) project led by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA. Dr. Binsted will work with colleagues at IBMP to develop a set of recommendations for international crew composition, training and support, based on the integrated results of these analog mission studies. This will help reduce the risks of space exploration and hopefully enable longer journeys deeper into space.

Leigh and Robertson chair ACM Symposiums on Spatial User Interfaces & User Interface Software & Technology

October 4-9, 2014: Professors Jason Leigh and Scott Robertson served as demonstration and regional chairs for two ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) symposiums in Waikiki: Spatial User Interfaces; and User Interface Software and Technology. UIST is a long running premier ACM symposium whereas SUI is a new symposium focusing on the emerging area of spatial user interaction technology and techniques.


HI-SEAS project finishes four month experiment

For the crew members of the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission, returning to Earth after four months on simulated Mars was as simple as opening a faux airlock door.

“This crew has proven to be a strong team throughout the duration of the study,” said Kim Binsted, associate professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and principal investigator for the HI-SEAS research effort. “By monitoring their inter-personal interactions, especially during times of stress, we’re learning more about the social and emotional factors that determine astronaut crew cohesion.  This is a big gap for NASA right now.”

Under the HI-SEAS study, Binsted and her collaborators have used video cameras, electronic surveys, crew reports and other sources to keep a watchful eye on the crew inside the habitat.

For more information, see the UH News Press Release, or go to

Big Data comes to Manoa

IPRC’s Director Kevin Hamilton was featured together with Steven Smith (UH Interim Vice President for Information Technology) and David Chin (Chair of the UH Information and Computer Sciences Department) on an episode of Jay Fidell’s ThinkTech Hawaii show, which was devoted to “Big Data Comes to Manoa.” The panel discussed new initiatives to establish a University high-performance computing capability and data center. IPRC is projected to be one of the very heaviest users of the new facilities, and Hamilton described the possibilities for climate modeling that will be opened up. Click to watch video.

Still wins grant from Foundational Questions Institute

ICS Professor Susanne Still with colleague Gavin Crooks from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been awarded $129,000 from the Foundational Questions Institute for their project “Foundations of information processing in living systems”.  

Project Summary: Despite the huge amount of new data on biological systems, the question of “What is Life” remains outstanding. In particular, are there organizing principles whose action clearly separates living from nonliving systems? One candidate is energy efficiency. A more subtle possible principle is informational in nature, that of predictive inference. If a life form can predict some aspect of its environment, then it can respond more appropriately. We have recently pointed out that these two concepts are fundamentally related physically, by exposing the direct tie between energetic inefficiency and inefficient use of system memory: retaining memory that is not useful for prediction. We will develop these ideas further, paying particular attention to processing speed. Intuitively, there should be a trade-off between energy efficiency, and how quickly an organism has to act. Predictive inference is further affected by an organism’s ability to change its own environment. Finally, we will explore if, on a microscopic level, quantum effects could allow for more efficient information processing. Altogether, the proposed research might lead to a sharper understanding of what it means to be alive, by providing an operational definition, based on information and the processing thereof. 

For more information, see the FQXi Awards Page

ICS sponsors ITS 2014

The Intelligent Tutoring Systems 2014 conference is the 12th of a regular bi-annual conference on the use of advanced computer technologies and interdisciplinary research for enabling, supporting or enhancing human learning. The conference will take place from 5 to 9 of June 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is expected that more than 250 academics, scientists and students from all over the world will attend.

This year’s conference theme is “Creating Fertile Soil for Learning Interactions”. With an emphasis not only on developing technologies to support learning, but on making fundamental discoveries regarding teaching and learning, ITS 2014 will bring together researchers from computer science, learning sciences, cognitive or educational psychology, sociology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and linguistics. ICS faculty member Martha Crosby is general chair, and faculty members Dan Suthers and Michael-Brian Ogawa are on the program committee.

For more information, see the website.

New Faculty: Depeng Li

The ICS Department is delighted to announce that Depeng Li will be joining our faculty in Fall, 2013.

Dr. Li is currently working as a Post-Doctoral Researcher on a joint research project called “Cyber Security for Smart Power Grids” sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Masdar Institute.

In 2010, he received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. In 2010 and 2011, he  worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Dalhousie University exploring  smartphone security.

He also has a research background in security and performance evaluation of wireless and wireline communication networks. From 2008 to 2010, he worked with Microsoft Corporation on security analyses and development for network security protocols including: IPsec, Firewall and IPv6 tunneling technology for Windows 7 and 8. From 2007 to 2008, he worked with Research In Motion (RIM) on the development of Blackberry smartphones.


New Faculty: Dusko Pavlovic

The ICS Department is delighted to announce that Dusko Pavlovic, currently Professor of Information Security at the University of London, will be joining our faculty in Fall, 2013.

Dusko Pavlovic was born in Sarajevo, studied mathematics at Utrecht, and was a postdoc at McGill, before starting an academic career in computer science at Imperial College and at Sussex. He left academia from 1999 to 2009 to work in software research at the Kestrel Institute in Palo Alto. He was a Visiting Professor at Oxford University from 2008-2012, a part-time Professor of Security at University of Twente starting in 2010, and a Professor of Information Security at the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2011.

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New Faculty: Nodari Sitchinava

The ICS Department is delighted to announce that Nodari Sitchinava, currently a post-doc at Aarhus University, will be joining the ICS faculty in Spring, 2014.

Nodari Sitchinava received Bachelor and Master degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and a PhD in Computer Science from UC Irvine. After graduating he accepted a postdoctoral appointment at the MADALGO Center at the CS department of Aarhus University.

His research concentrates on developing accurate models of computation for modern parallel architectures and designing algorithms for them. In particular, his PhD dissertation concentrated on combining cache-efficiency with parallelism for multi-core architectures and on the development of a number of fundamental combinatorial, graph and geometric algorithms in the new model.

New Faculty: Jason Leigh

The ICS Department is delighted to announce that Jason Leigh will be joining our Department in January, 2014. 

Leigh is currently a Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Electronic Visualization Lab (EVL) and Software Technologies Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he also holds an appointment in the Department of Communication.

“We have identified big data visualization as a critical area in which we need to grow capacity to support the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative and UH’s own research aspirations,” said UH Interim President David Lassner. ”Jason is one of the best anywhere, with a proven track record of successful innovation and deep collaboration with leading scientists within his institution and around the world.”

Leigh’s SAGE (Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment) software is the de facto standard for driving ultra-high resolution display walls around the world, which are fast becoming the lenses through which insight and innovation from big data science and engineering collaborations are brought into focus.